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Edward Maloof, community champion, dies at 89

Edward E. Maloof of Mercer Island died Sept. 30 at Swedish Hospital with his family at his side. Through his civic involvement, real estate and teaching careers, Mr. Maloof was a key part of Island life for more than 60 years.

Mr. Maloof was born on March 18, 1919, to immigrant parents in Methuen, Mass.

After high school, he enlisted in the Navy, attended officer training school and attained the rank of lieutenant junior grade. He was an officer on the aircraft carrier USS Lexington (CV-2) and saw action during WWII.

In the late 1930s, the USS Lexington was summoned to the city of Tacoma to supply electrical power when the city lost a power generating station. At a USO dance in Tacoma, Mr. Maloof met, courted and later married Elizabeth (Betty) Towsley, who was born on Mercer Island.

Mr. Maloof was aboard the USS Lexington when it was severely damaged during the Battle of the Coral Seas on May 8, 1942. The ship had to be abandoned. Despite being injured, Mr. Maloof, an officer, remained on the ship until the last men were taken off. While waiting to be picked up by a destroyer in the vicinity, the officers retrieved some ice cream that they knew would be wasted. As they began to enjoy the ice cream, a series of explosions rocked the ship. Leaving the ice cream behind, the men rappelled down the side of the huge ship and swam more than two miles across the open sea to safety.

After the war ended, Mr. Maloof attended and graduated from the University of Washington on the GI Bill. He became a high school teacher and taught in Federal Way, Issaquah and Mercer Island. He taught English, geometry, speech and boxing. He was an assistant football coach at Mercer Island High School and announced the football and basketball games well after he retired from teaching.

The family had moved to Mercer Island in 1946, where they bought a home in the East Seattle neighborhood. In 1955, the family moved to a home on Forest Avenue, where Mr. Maloof resided until his death.

In addition to teaching, Mr. Maloof also sold real estate, which he continued until he was 80. He held many positions of leadership here and in Seattle. He was an Exalted Ruler of Elks Lodge 92 in Seattle, president of the Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce and a founding member of the Mercer Island Fire Department and the Craft Guild. He was also a member of Emmanuel Episcopal Church and the Mercer Island Historical Society. As a firefighter, he played Santa Claus, gluing cotton balls to the top of his fire boots to complete the look. He enjoyed all sports, including boxing, ice hockey, ski jumping, pickle ball and boating.

Mr. Maloof was preceded in death by his brothers, George and Sam, and his first wife, Betty. He is survived by his wife, Sally McCrillis; sons, Emmett (Sandy), Jim (Susie), Steve (Trudy) and Andy; 11 grandchildren; and 10 great-grandchildren.

Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 11, at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 4400 86th Ave. S.E. A reception will follow in the Parish Hall.

Remembrances are suggested to the Dr. Kaplan Research Foundation, Swedish Hospital, 1221 Madison St., Suite 200, Seattle, WA 98104.

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